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Cat-Proofing Your Home

Your First Cat Tutorial: Lesson 3

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Pick up small hazardous objects

Pins, Tacks & Rubber Bands are Choking Hazards to Cats

Photo Credit: © Franny Syufy
You've decided where you're going to go to adopt your new kitty; possibly you've already narrowed your selection down to one cat you simply must bring home. You've stocked up on essentials from our shopping list, and you've prepared kitty's "safe room." There's only one step left before Homecoming Day - Cat-proofing your home to save wear and tear on the household as well as the new arrival.

The Cat-Proofing Process

  • Get "Down and Dirty"
    Put on some old clothes and get down on the floor at a cat's level. You'll spot tempting hazards you may never have noticed from your human point of view.
  • Protect Valuables
    Cats are inquisitive and curious (some might say "snoopy"), so you won't want to leave Great-Aunt Pearle's hand-painted china vase sitting on the coffee table. It will otherwise undoubtedly be the first sacrifice to your new kitty's exploration.
    • Breakables
      Put away any other breakable treasures that are remotely accessible to your cat. Remember that adult cats can, and will, jump onto shelves and counters, so put yourself into the mind of the cat, and look around, and remove anything you value. Cats will get into everything, as the above photo demonstrates.
    • Other Destroyables
      Kittens will climb your furniture and drapes. Consider covering cloth furniture with a purchased cover, or even with a blanket or bedspread. Drapes should be confined to off-limit rooms, or at the least, tied up and out of reach for the time being.
  • Poisonous Plants
    Kittens and adult cats love to play with plants--the motion of leaves moving in a draft is irresistable. Unfortunately, part of their play involves biting and tasting--eating some plants can be fatal, so get rid of those, or hang them safely out of reach. Here is a comprehensive list of plants poisonous to animals. You might even want to consider artificial plants and flowers as a substitute--just make sure they don't have easily detachable (and ingestible) berries, small twigs and such.
  • Hanging blinds cords
    Kittens will love to bat around cords from hanging blinds, but can also get tangled up in them with disastrous consequences. Either anchor the cords firmly or, better yet, tie them up out of reach.
  • Electrical and phone cords
    Kittens' insatiable curiosity often leads them to one of the most dangerously temptable objects in the house: electric cords. Computers are a particular hazard with their numerous cords dangling temptingly. Invest in a cord management system or tape the cords together and fasten them out of reach. Those that don't manage easily can be sprayed with Bitter Apple, a very unpleasant tasting, but harmless substance. Do the same with long phone cords.
  • Pest Poisons
    Remove any ant or roach traps from accessible areas. If your cat will be an indoor-outdoor pet, also scour your yard and remove any left-over ant stakes or snail bait.
  • Small Hazards
    Rubber bands, paper clips, thumb tacks, broken balloons, Christmas tree tinsel and other small articles are irresistible play objects for kittens, but pose a choking hazard. Put them away in containers, and leave the tinsel off the tree this year. A good rule of thumb is to put away anything that you would not want a toddler to get his hands on--the same reasoning goes for your kitten or cat.
  • The Garage
    It's probably better to label the garage "off-limits" to your cat. Too many poisonous/hazardous materials are stored there. Anti-freeze is particularly poisonous and is attractive to animals because of its sweet taste. Make sure that any spilled anti-freeze is cleaned up immediately, and the garage floor thoroughly washed. Store all caustic and poisonous materials in a closed cabinet.

    You've done your homework and progressed along your journey toward your final goal: bringing your new kitty home. You will soon be rewarded for all your hard work with joy you simply can't imagine, when you bring your new cat home.

    New to Cats > Getting Your First Cat > Cat-Proofing Your Home

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